What happens to workouts when you get sick?

That time of year is upon us. “Flu Shots Here” signs on every corner. The woman in the next cubicle is hacking and coughing. You sit down for the evening when you get home from work and realize…you feel off. What is it and is it going to wreck all the progress you’ve made with your fitness?

I decided to write this blog because scratchy throats, runny noses, coughing, and a general off feeling have been plaguing some of my clients recently and it brought some very important things to my attention.

1.  People tend to have all or nothing thoughts about fitness. Missed workouts and comfort foods for a few days often make people feel like they are starting back at square one. This just isn’t true and it’s a slippery slope way of thinking. If you feel like you are back at square one “yet again,” you are likely to stray further from your regime. Our natural instinct is for negative stuff to take over our thoughts and it tends to squeeze out the positive stuff. You have to remember how awesome you felt before you got sick and that isn’t always easy.

2.  People either do too much or too little when they get sick. I think it relates back to the all or nothing thought process and probably a little bit because you can Google anything and if you Google “should I workout when I am sick?” there’s a lot of conflicting information out there. We all want to get it right, so what do we do?

In my opinion, it all boils down to body awareness and intuition. Unfortunately, body awareness and intuition are words that scare people into thinking they need to burn incense, take up yoga, and grow dreadlocks. It’s really about presence and in today’s world the majority of us spend an awful lot of time numbing. If you think you don’t, ask yourself how often do you check your phone, play video games, watch tv, text, Google, and any other thing that keeps you too busy to have to be with yourself for long enough to check in and feel how you feel? I mean, when was the last time you came to a red light and didn’t reach for your phone? How about in line at the grocery store? In an elevator or waiting room? Have you ever eaten by yourself without TV, cell, or computer? My point being, there’s a good chance you are out of practice when it comes to connecting with yourself and your body.

Intuition and body awareness cannot be taught. You have it. You just need to start using it again. Start by asking yourself a simple question that will help you determine whether or not you are doing what you should be as far as your workouts go. It’s pretty simple really. “Is this making me feel better or worse?” Also ask yourself, “What will make me feel better?” These things may be tricky for you to answer at first. To make it easier, more often than not, when you aren’t feeling 100% your planned workout is not a good idea. When you have symptoms of something, your body is trying to tell you something. Your plan should be to work with your body and not against it.

We are so busy making plans and fighting anything to get in the way of our plans that we are actually doing the opposite of what you would think we want. I know, I know. People are afraid to take too many days away from their workouts because they have goals or some are worried about de-conditioning or losing the progress they have made. Some people are afraid to break the habit because they are afraid of getting lazy. Here’s the deal, you aren’t going to lose all of your progress because you listen to what your body needs and take a few days or a week off. You can try and deny being sick all you want, but, when you are sick, you are sick and your body needs what it needs and that isn’t a workout.

What if you skipped your workout and went for a walk instead at the first sign of feeling “off”?  You have to be tuned in to know you feel off of course.

What if you pushed through your scheduled workout when you felt off and you ended up sicker than you would have been or worse, you got injured because you were feeling off? Now you have to take more time off. Which way is the smart way? Which way is working in unison with your body and which one is going to derail your fitness?

What are your rules for working out when you are sick? Show yourself some love and tune into your body. Not just when you are sick, but, all the time. Reconnect with yourself and watch how easy health and fitness becomes.

I am in the process of working on a new program that focuses on tuning into exactly what you need each day. A version of it will be for people dealing with chronic issues especially endometriosis and women’s issues. If you or someone you know could benefit, complete my survey to be kept up to date and have a chance to be a part of creating the program. Please share it too. The more data I collect, the better the program will be! If you deal with a chronic issue like endometriosis and want to help me create the best fitness program for you, please click here and complete.

Posted in Exercise, General, health.

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